February 23, 2010 at 10:31 am
We are very excited about the smartbook form-factor here at NbC. Whilst some may question the need for yet another device category, smartbooks sit distinctly from netbooks in our view. Our definition of a smartbook is a device that is always connected and one that runs on an ARM-based chip.
Both are interconnected as ARM provides a SoC with embedded 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality. The result is similar to that of many smartphones, long battery life, a near enough instant resume function and the ability to check the internet from wherever you are.
Once smartbooks start to hit the market and data contracts aren’t prohibitively expensive as they are now, we believe the segment will really take off. As people experience the always-on environment, it’s hard to imagine people going back. Many companies recognize this, including Google, who is preparing its cloud-only Chrome operating system for the second half of the year.
ABI Research has put some hard numbers on expected smartbook take-up, bullishly predicting 163 million shipments in 2015. To put this into perspective, 170 million portable PCs shipped in 2009 according to DisplaySearch. ABI’s numbers means that we will see almost the same number of smartbooks shipping in five years time as the combined number of notebooks and netbooks that shipped last year.
If these aggressive numbers are to be hit, price will be a key factor. Since the smartbook term was first coined by Qualcomm, talk has been of cheap sub-$200 entry-level devices. However, most of the smartbooks seen so far (such as the Lenovo Skylight) have been of more premium models. The lower prices will be needed to drive consumer adoption.
Via X-bit Labs.